The island of Antigua was named by Christopher Columbus in honor of Maria de la Antigua, a saint. This island has been inhabited by indigenous peoples since 200 years BC. Subsequently, the English established plantations and brought in African slaves. The country gained independence from Great Britain in 1981.
The capital of the island is St John. It contains remnants of the time when the city was an important naval base for the British Navy. Today, St John is a popular destination for sailing enthusiasts and large gatherings take place there such as the Antigua Yacht Show and Antigua Sailing Week.